Duterte sees results of senatorial polls referendum for his administration
President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged on Monday that the senatorial elections could be taken as a referendum for his administration.
Duterte made the statement after casting his vote in a precinct in Davao City on Monday afternoon.
The President's long-time partner Cielito "Honeylet" Avancena accompanied him when he voted for the midterm polls.
Bringing a sample ballot with him, it took Duterte some 20 minutes before he finished casting his vote at the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School in Tolomo district at around 4:30pm.
He was supposed to show an identification card when there were "eroding lines" during his fingerprinting, which he blamed for his Buerger's disease.
Avancena, a nurse by profession, explained to a member of the Board of Election Inspectors about the problem on Duterte's fingerprints.
"It could be taken as one referendum. So that if you agree with me, then you can vote for my candidates or the people I am supporting this election," said Duterte when asked if the results of the elections could be taken as a referendum for his administration.
"Now, if I am repudiated by the loss of all candidates coming from the Hugpong slate, then that would indicate that the majority of the people, they don't like me," he said.
Hugpong ng Pagbabago is a regional political party in Davao region founded by Duterte's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. While it is just a regional party, it forged alliances with the other national and regional political parties and endorsed its 13 senatorial candidates, even if only 12 slots were at stake.
Duterte-Carpio, in an interview earlier in the day after she cast her vote, said that she and HNP campaigned hard for their senatorial bets because she wanted the Senate's support on the priority measures and programs of her father's administration.
"During the first three years (of the Duterte administration), we've seen that President Duterte found a bit hard time in getting the support of the Senate in pushing for his campaign promises. That's why we really worked hard during this campaign," she said, as she expressed hope that the Filipinos have voted for HNP's backed senatorial bets.
Duterte said if the senatorial candidates he endorsed would not win and if the media demanded him to step down, he would do it. Provided, however, that the media organizations who would ask him to leave would be the "legitimate, taxpaying" ones, he said.
"I can stomach a tricycle driver shouting, sloganeering at me. (But) I will never bow down to any foreigner," he said, apparently referring to Rappler news website, whose license to operate was revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly violating the constitutional provision on 100 percent Filipino ownership.
Asked of his expectation of the result of the senatorial polls, the President said that since he was a mayor of Davao City, his proposition was 50/50.
At the same time, Duterte reiterated his warning to Sara not to run for president in the 2022 election as it would "destroy" her.
Aside from Sara, who is a re-electionist in Davao City, Duterte's eldest son, former Davao City Mayor Paolo Duterte, is seeking a congressional post in the first district of the city, while youngest son, Sebastian, is Sara's vice-mayoralty candidate.
For his message to his three children, the President said, "the earlier that they go out of politics, the better."
In the same interview, Duterte said those who were caught involved in vote-buying and selling would be prosecuted.
However, Duterte admitted that vote-buying takes "many forms" and it is difficult to say that one is engaged in vote-buying.
"You know, when you start to give money...just like what I told the Comelec (Commission on Elections) it is not because I'm buying the vote of the fellow, it's because I'm giving him money to go to the precinct, cast his vote, and go home. Not all people have money. Or you send food to your leaders who are here sacrificing and waiting for the food to eat so that they can last until the last vote is counted," he explained. Celerina Monte/DMS